Sunday, December 26, 2010

A visit from Amy McDonald, Dec. 26 2010

Amy McDonald came by to visit Gale, her biological mom, and say hello the family.  At 39, Amy is pregnant with a boy, her first child.  She'll be 27 weeks along tomorrow, December 27, and the baby is due March 28.  3 weeks ago the baby started pressing against her lungs, so she's sometimes short of breath.  The little guy also has a strong kick, a trait Amy thinks he might have inherited from his dad Maté pronounced (maTAY), a soccer coach.

Mia, Mickey, Jean, Amy, Gale,  & Esther
Maté is very active, and loves to dance.  They had intended to marry this summer, but put it off because of deaths in Maté's family. Maté was offered a coaching job in Santa Monica, so they might move there after the baby is born.  Other possibilities are LA and Phoenix.  Matè is a Croatian, and speaks Croatian, Russian, and Spanish in addition to English.

Amy and Maté dated briefly when Amy was 19, and they both worked ion a video store in Phoenix, but Amy wasn't ready to settle down.  Last year when she was back in Arizona she looked him up through Facebook, and Maté suggested they got together for beers and Monday night Football.  At the end of that fateful Monday encounter, on October 2009, Maté told her "I lost you once, I don't want that to happen again."  And it hasn't they've been together ever since.

Gale chatting with Amy

She engaged Gale in conversation, talking to her about the medication Gale was taking, and Gale's experience with childbirth.  (Gale strongly recommends an epidural for the pain).  Everyone was touched when Gale pulled the a bundle of letters from her backpack, and read one from Amy.  Amy asked her if Gale carried the letters from her children with her always, and Gale said she did.

Gale showing Amy her meds

Amy had a good time with Eta over the summer, and thinks that Eta really learned sales skills.  At the start of the summer she was talking a lot, but by the end she had learned to listen more.  (Amy thinks being a good listener is the secret of being good at sales).  Amy thinks the most prominent personality trait that she and Eta have in common are their sense of humor, which she describes as a "dry wit."  When Maté saw the two of them together, he remarked "oh, so there's two of you."

Amy wondered how she would have turned out if she had been raised in Israel.  She likes many things about Israelis, and thinks that if she had lived there she would've grown up more quickly.  On the other hand, she thinks Israeli's are very nationalistic and army-oriented, and doesn't like that so much.

Amy last she's job was as a contract sales representative for Johnson and Johnson, selling bone cement.  But Amy didn't renew her contract this year, because she wanted to take some time to enjoy her baby.  She probably won't go back to Johnson & Johnson, because they were unhappy she chose to take time off.

Mother and daughter

Being a sales rep was Amy's 2nd career.  She started out as a dancer, and had several national and international tours.  In 1998 she was touring Japan, doing a routine that called for her to leap and land on one leg.  One night she woke up in terrible pain that turned out to be caused by a staph infection in her landing knee.  Soon after she returned to the U.S. she followed a tip from a friend took and got a job selling telephone service.  This was right after the telephone industry deregulation, and Amy was a roaring success as a salesperson.  Based on that success, and her B.S. in physiology from Arizona State , she moved from telecoms to medical sales.

Amy's future plans, in addition to becoming a mom (she's reading Magical Child, Magical Parent), are to go back to school and get a law degree so she can run a non-profit program with Maté.  What the two parents-to-be have in mind is a program that would providing soccer coaching to children. This idea was inspired by a problem in Scottsdale, where a soccer program was raking in government subsidies while paying coaches poorly and not giving they scholarships to poor kids that they said they were.  It took a lot of research, and a visit from the head of a national soccer association, but Matè and Amy got the problem straightened out.  Now they'd like to create their own program that would do things right from the beginning.

An ambitious plan, but will they do it, and start a family too?  As Amy told the story, she made a step-climbing movements with her hands, saying with a gesture that being a mom and a non-profit entrepreneur would be a continuation of a process of adventure and self-improvement she's engaged in her all her life.  Based on her track record, it's hard to believe she won't ascend the next rungs.

Mother and daughter close-up

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